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We answer the most common questions surrounding the disease

Alabama Rot is a potentially fatal condition that has no known cure. In recent years there have been a growing number of cases in the UK, including a case in the local Knutsford area. The disease is concerning for vets and pet owners alike and although it is extremely rare, dog owners should remain vigilant in the colder months. This information should ensure that you know everything you need to about the condition to keep your pet safe. If you have any questions or suspect a case of Alabama Rot, contact us today.

Contents

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot is a potentially fatal disease that can affect all dogs. It was first discovered in America in the late 1980s, but recently a number of cases have been reported in the UK.

Also known as Idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy or CRGV, the condition causes severe skin lesions, similar to the appearance of ulcers, in the lower limbs and feet of dogs.

Blood vessels which supply the skin and kidneys become damaged, causing blood clots to form, which can in turn lead to kidney failure. The chances of saving your dog are massively improved by quick identification and treatment of the condition.

What causes Alabama Rot?

The cause of Alabama Rot remains unknown, but exposure to common bacterial infections and toxins have been ruled out. Despite the exact cause not being known, it’s thought that the majority of dog’s treated for the condition had recently walked in muddy and/or woodland areas. Records also suggest that the conditions usually occurs in the winter or spring.

Research is ongoing and active, lead by David Walker, a small animal specialist in internal medicine, based at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists on the South Coast. Locally there has been a case reported by another Cheshire vets surgery, meaning that owners should remain vigilant.

Muddy and woodland areas are linked with the disease.

Owners should be extra vigilant following walks in these conditions.

Is Alabama Rot dangerous?

Alabama Rot is potentially fatal for dogs, with figures suggesting that as many as 9 out of 10 cases result in death. There is however hope if the symptoms are spotted quickly and the owners react to them by contacting their local veterinary team or out of hours vet depending on the time of day.

The disease causes ulcers not only on the dog’s skin, but also in the dog’s kidneys. It’s this that often leads to kidney failure and eventual death. By receiving treatment before reaching this stage, the hope is that you can stop the disease causing as much damage and in the event of kidney failure you can take steps to counteract this.

As many as 9 out of 10
cases end in death

Fast treatment is essential to give
your dog a fighting chance. Figures
from AlabamaRot.com & Anderson
Moores Vets

Other animals and humans
are fine

other animals are fine

But, the condition can affect any dog,
regardless of breed, age or gender

Can Alabama Rot affect humans or other animals?

Owners with dogs that have the disease have not been affected in any of the recorded cases of Alabama Rot. There is no evidence to suggest that the disease can spread to humans or indeed be carried by humans. Likewise, although Alabama Rot can affect all breeds of dog, it hasn’t been known to affect any other species of animal, including cats or rabbits.

Be vigilant to protect your dog this spring

Remember quick action is the best cure

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?

The main sign of Alabama Rot is lesions of the feet, lower legs or occasionally the mouth. Although skin lesions can be caused by any number of conditions, it is always best to err on the side of caution, particularly in light of cases that have occurred locally. Only a subset of Alabama Rot cases develop kidney failure, but an animal may require immediate and aggressive treatment, or even referral to a specialist hospital.

Is Alabama Rot common?

Thankfully, although Alabama Rot is highly dangerous, it’s not all that common. Figures from pet insurance provider Agria suggest that there have been just 166 cases in the UK since 2012. When you consider there are roughly 9 million dogs in the UK, the figures are not all that high. There were however a growing number of cases in early 2018, which shows that the condition is still serious and could yet develop further.

How can I prevent my dog catching Alabama Rot?

Unfortunately, the bad news for owners is that because there is so little knowledge on Alabama Rot as a whole, it’s difficult for vets to offer any meaningful advice on how to avoid the disease. Due to the fact that many cases of Alabama Rot have been linked with muddy woodland walks and the majority of the cases occur in the Spring or Winter, owners should remain vigilant at that time of year following walks of a similar nature.

As always you should check your dog’s skin regularly for any injuries and this will help you spot lesions early. Luckily, Alabama Rot cases are still rare.

Fast action is essential when it comes to protecting your dog from Alabama Rot.

The chances of saving your pet are improved dramatically by acting quick.

If you notice any signs or symptoms of the disease, contact us today on 01565 337 999 or visit an emergency vet out of hours.

How is Alabama Rot Treated?

Because the cause of the condition is still unknown, treatment is based on supporting the dog’s body systems. Skin lesions will be cleaned and often dressed to reduce infection. Antibiotics are likely to be prescribed in case of a bacterial cause and to limit other infections. If kidney failure occurs or appears imminent then hospitalisation for intensive intravenous fluid therapy and monitoring will be advised. Giving the patient anti-sickness medication and antacids can often make them more comfortable.

Which breeds does Alabama Rot affect?

Alabama Rot doesn’t discriminate on breed, size or sex and it can affect any dog of any age. For this reason it’s something that all dog owners should become knowledgeable of in case you notice any of the symptoms.

What should I do if I suspect my dog has Alabama Rot?

The symptoms of Alabama Rot are very similar to a number of other injuries or ailments that present in dogs, but because of the severity it’s always better to err on the side of caution. If you suspect your dog has Alabama Rot or you notice any symptoms that appear similar to those of Alabama Rot, you should contact your vet immediately. The quicker you react to this illness the more chance your dog has of reacting to the treatment.

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